Confirmed: no DerbyWheel test event until after Olympics


A video message to prospective competitors has been posted on the DerbyWheel website homepage, in which CEO James Pope confirms that the test event will not be happening until after the Olympics – meaning mid-August at the very earliest.

Global Keirin understands that the video was sent directly to riders a week or two ago. It’s an encouraging sign that the company is being more transparent about its progress and problems, by posting this message externally. It’s also reasonable to communicate with the riders directly first, so a short delay in publication is entirely justifiable.

At the end of the video, Pope promises riders a further update ‘at the end of June’ – which should be within a few days.

Video embedded from

Hi, everyone. Thanks for your patience while we’ve been working to reset our plan for the DerbyWheel test event. We’ve been making good progress, so I wanted to provide an update and also give a bit more information to help explain the delays.

Firstly, I thought it would be useful to explain our launch plan in a bit more detail, as I know we only touched on this in the induction presentations.

At the start of establishing the DerbyWheel business, we set out the following three launch phases. Phase one was to recruit riders and host the induction process. Phase two was the development of systems and operations leading to our test event. And phase three will be the launch of racing and the first season of DerbyWheel.

Now, each of these phases has a range of objectives and dependencies to enable us to move to the next phase successfully.

The key objective of phase one was to recruit enough riders to establish the initial rider pool. This was achieved successfully after the inductions in January.

The main objective of phase two in the test event is to fully simulate a live DerbyWheel race and use this as the platform to establish commercial partnerships. This is a number of operational, technical, commercial and marketing dependencies to ensure success.

A key part of the DerbyWheel operation, as you know, is the live feed and data that we will be sending to betting operators around the world. We’re developing a fully bespoke data platform and tech and broadcast systems to enable us to distribute this content.

This needs to be fully ready for the test event with commercial partners secured to test and integrate these systems and showcase DerbyWheel as an exciting and innovative new sport.

Now, one of the reasons for the decision to postpone the test event was due to these systems not being fully ready and negotiations with a key commercial partner still ongoing. We’ve been working hard over the last few weeks to resolve these and some other issues, and we have made good progress.

The exact date of the test event will be confirmed in the coming weeks, along with an updated timeline to start the first race season. But we can confirm that the test event will not take place before the Olympics.

We always knew launching DerbyWheel was going to be a challenge because of the scale and ambition of establishing a new global sports business.

Like most startups, the initial period to get the business up and running is a bumpy road. But we are confident that once we overcome these challenges, the business will grow quickly and will be truly transformative for you and the other riders.

Rest assured, the whole DerbyWheel team is working very hard behind the scenes to get back on track and we really appreciate your support. We will keep working closely with the rider representatives to address any questions or concerns you have, and I will provide another update at the end of June.

Thank you.